Puccini : ToscaNew York, Met, 1970 (Audio)
Director: Francesco Molinari Pradelli
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Sandor Konya, was an Hungarian tenor mainstay of the Metropolitan Opera roster from 1961 to 1974
Mr. Konya had a powerful, dramatic voice and was most highly regarded as a Wagnerian tenor. But his broad repertory also included several of the major Verdi and Puccini roles, as well as Edgardo in Donizetti's ''Lucia di Lammermoor'' and Turiddu in Mascagni's ''Cavalleria Rusticana.'' Although his Wagner was criticized by some for embodying an Italianate sob, Mr. Konya's admirers prized exactly that tendency toward stylistic cross-pollination. Just as he brought the emotional lyricism of Italian opera to Germanic roles, he sang Italian roles with the big, heroic sound more typically heard in German works.
Mr. Konya was born in Sarkad, Hungary, on Sept. 23, 1923, and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, as well as in Milan and at the Music Academy of Detmold, in northwestern Germany. In 1951 he made his professional debut as Turiddu at the Bielefeld Opera. He remained on the company's roster for three years, during which he expanded his repertory, both in grand opera and in lighter roles.
During the mid-1950's he performed in Darmstadt, Stuttgart, Hamburg and other German cities, and in 1955 he joined the roster of the Deutsche Oper (then called the Stadtische Oper), Berlin. In Berlin, he created the role of Leandro in Hans Werner Henze's ''König Hirsch.'' He also gave the German premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's ''Saint of Bleecker Street.''
Mr. Konya made his debut at Bayreuth in the title role of Wagner's ''Lohengrin,'' in 1958. His success as Lohengrin led to invitations to make debuts, in the same role, in Paris in 1959, the Metropolitan Opera in 1961 and Covent Garden in 1963. In 1960 he made his La Scala debut, as Parsifal, as well as his American debut, as Dick Johnson in Puccini's ''Fanciulla del West,'' at the San Francisco Opera. In his later years, he toured Europe, Japan and South America and made several recordings.
When Mr. Konya made his Metropolitan Opera debut, Harold C. Schonberg wrote in The New York Times that he was ''one of the authentic breed'' of Wagnerian tenors, and a valuable addition to the company's roster.
''He is built like a heldentenor, along heroic proportions,'' Mr. Schonberg wrote. ''He can summon plenty of volume without forcing, has a smooth delivery and does not seem to get tired. The voice itself is of fine quality, colorful and sonorous, though not big enough at present for Siegfried or Tristan.''
Mr. Konya remained on the Met roster until the end of 1974. During his 14 seasons at the house, he gave 287 performances in 22 works, including most of the central tenor roles. Among them were Radames in ''Aida,'' Riccardo in ''Un Ballo in Maschera,'' Max in ''Der Freischütz,'' Erik in ''Der Fliegende Holländer,'' Walther in ''Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,'' the title role in ''Parsifal,'' Alfredo in ''La Traviata'' and Cavaradossi in ''Tosca.'' His final Met performance was as Steva in ''Jenufa.''
Francesco Molinari Pradelli